It’s not about you.

I’m facing it now: I have a young voice student who has failed to meet expectations at state competitions, and the only thing I’m thinking about is, “How will this reflect on me?” [FAIL]

I’m sure every teacher goes through something like this. If a student doesn’t perform well, it’s easy to think, “Where did I go wrong?”  “What didn’t I do?”  “Am I going to get a bad rep for this?”  “Have I failed?” And it can hurt even more when the student has been working really hard and is now feeling the weight of disappointment. Because you wanted to be the one who makes the difference and reaps the success.

But you’re not the one singing.

There’s a point where you gotta draw the line at how much emotion you’re willing to invest into any particular student. You choose the repertoire, make the suggestions, run the student through the drills, and monitor their progress. But you don’t win the prize for them. You don’t pass the audition for them. You don’t perform for them. You have no ownership of their success or failure. It’s not about you.

The moment I make my student’s progress about me, it’s over. I’m done. I’m not being a teacher anymore. It violates the job description. So I must release myself from this tendency constantly, so I can allow my student to have full ownership of his experience, which is exactly what any adult would want of a young person.

It’s a good thing I’m facing this now, before I have kids of my own. Because I’m sure those feelings are amplified at least 100 times in parents.

And don’t get me started on them…

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